To spice up your strength-training routine, add elastic bands to your regular workout. By including elastic bands you’ll be adding a form of resistance exercise to your routine. This is a great way to strength train and break up an otherwise boring workout. It’s important to find the right elastic bands for your fitness level and use them correctly to increase your muscle’s endurance, tone and strength.
Elastic bands are a cheap and easy alternative to other strength-training equipment. There are more functional movement patterns available by using elastic bands versus other equipment, such as free weights. With elastic bands you don't have to rely on gravity in order to provide resistance, which makes everyday movements or sport-specific workouts easier to mimic.
It’s important to first warm up for five to 10 minutes before using elastic bands. You should also stretch the muscles you intend to use after you’ve warmed up. Try to include at least five minutes of stretching before starting your elastic band workout. Those who are beginners can start with one set of 12 to 15 reps for each elastic band exercise. As you become stronger and have been lifting or using the bands for up to three months, you can perform two sets of 12 to 15 reps for each exercise. Those who are advanced exercisers, training with weights or bands for three or more months, can increase to three sets with 12 to 15 reps per exercise.
With elastic band exercises you can spot train certain muscle groups to tone and strengthen. You can incorporate skater squats to spot train your hamstrings and glutes. Stand on top of the band and keep your feet shoulder-width apart; bend the knees slightly while holding one end of the band with your right hand and the other end of the band with your left hand. Step out to the right and push the foot against the band. Squat for two seconds and then step back to your starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps on the right side and then switch sides for the same number of reps.
Choosing the Right Band
When choosing your elastic band you’ll want to consider the best band to incorporate into your exercise program. There are two types of elastic bands that are popular: ribbon-shaped bands and longer rubber-tube-shaped bands. First consider the tension level you want in a band. Elastic bands come with several tension levels, so it’s important to buy a variety of bands with different levels of tension for your muscle groups. You’ll also want to choose bands that are easy and comfortable to use. For a more user-friendly band, buy an elastic band that has a padded handle. There are also elastic bands that offer accessories such as ankle cuffs or door attachments.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.